Viruses are the cause of many illnesses. Some are more serious than others, and some can lead to life-threatening conditions if not treated right away.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to avoid catching viral diseases. These include staying home when you’re sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands often.
Stay home when you’re sick
It’s best to stay home when you’re sick because it helps slow the spread of germs. This is especially important during flu season, when vaccines are often in short supply and it’s easier for viruses to spread.
Colds and the flu are two of the most common reasons people miss work or school. While the symptoms of a cold are not as serious as those of the flu, they can still cause headaches, sore throat, congestion, coughing, aches and pains and runny nose.
Similarly, the symptoms of the flu can also be quite serious, including fever, coughing and severe aches. These are all signs your immune system is fighting a serious illness, and you shouldn’t put yourself at risk by returning to work or school when you’re not feeling well.
In addition, it’s a good idea to take your temperature when you start feeling better. This is a way to know when you’re ready to return to work or school and avoid spreading the virus to others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Cover your coughs and sneezes
One of the best ways to avoid catching viral diseases is to cover your coughs and sneezes. This means using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
Then, you need to throw away the tissue as soon as you’re done using it. Germs can live on surfaces for up to two hours, so you need to be sure that you’re disposing of your used tissue right away.
This is especially important if you’re working with others. You can spread your germs to them when you touch your hands after sneezing or coughing.
Coughing and sneezing droplets carry bacteria and viruses that cause many infectious respiratory illnesses, including colds, flu and COVID-19. They can travel several feet, so you need to make sure that you’re covering your cough and sneeze correctly to prevent spreading germs.
Wash your hands often
Often overlooked, washing your hands frequently is one of the best ways to avoid catching viral diseases. This is especially true during cold and flu season.
Viruses are tiny germs that are made of genetic material (DNA or RNA) and protein. They can cause common infections, such as the flu and colds, and more serious illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and COVID-19.
They can also hijack living, normal cells and use them to replicate themselves and make you sick.
You can protect yourself by washing your hands regularly, preferably with soap and water. Then dry them thoroughly with a paper towel or disposable hand towel.
Wash your hands at least 20 times a day. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to soap and water.
Don’t pick your nose
Nose picking is an insidious habit that can wreak havoc on your nose and nasal passages. Not only can it be unsightly and socially unacceptable, but it can also lead to infections if you aren’t careful.
Nose pickers often do it because they’re irritated by excess mucus or boogers in their noses, which makes it hard to breath and is a normal part of their bodies’ response to irritation and inflammation. But other reasons may also contribute to this affliction, including dry sinuses or breathing in a dusty environment.
Besides, nose picking can also cause tiny cuts in the nasal epithelial linings and hair follicles. This is a risk factor for skin infections, called vestibulitis. It can also lead to infections that spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs and brain.